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Fantasy Rough Draft: Grading the first four picks

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We like to deliver on our promises here at NFL Fantasy. Yesterday, we asked our Twitter followers to send in their first four draft picks along with the hashtag #FantasyRoughDraft. We said a few of the best would be selected for our experts to grade on Friday's edition of Fantasy LIVE. Elliot Harrison, Marcas Grant and Adam Rank made good on that promise and now you can watch the analysis of some #FantasyRoughDraft action in the video above.

Since our experts didn't have time to discuss all of the picks that were sent in on Fantasy LIVE, we figured it wouldn't hurt to take a look at some others here on the site for some additional grading. So if you sent us a tweet and didn't see yours on the big screen, maybe you'll see your picks graded below if you look hard enough. 

GRADE: A

Cheater! No? You didn't cheat huh? Well then you traded up for three first round picks, didn't you? Either that or you're playing in a league with people who draft kickers and defenses in the first three rounds. Manning, Graham and Lynch are all worthy of taking in the first round, so the fact that you managed to snag all three of them is mind-boggling. It's a bit surprising that Lynch fell all the way to Round 3 seeing as he has had more carries than any other running back in the NFL over the last three seasons. There has been some negative news about him this summer and a decline is in the near future, but he should still be considered a top-five fantasy running back for now. Anyhow, nice work here. And I apologize for accusing you of cheating.

GRADE: C

Do you prefer the good news first or the bad news first? The good news: Getting Green in Round 4 will be a rarity this season since he's considered an elite fantasy wideout and the fact that you snagged Green and Marshall is great for your chances of having a successful campaign. The bad news: Philip Rivers in Round 3!? Now that’s what we call a reach my friend. Even if he did finish with the sixth most fantasy points at his position last season, this year his current ADP is in Round 12 which means you probably should have taken another running back here and would have still been able to get Rivers an entire nine rounds later. The only quarterbacks that are worth taking this early are Manning (not Eli), Brees, and Rodgers. My other concern is drafting Bernard with your first pick. His current ADP is Round 3. If it's a 12-team league, you're stuck with pick 11 or 12 and everyone before you took a running back then I'd let it slide. But the fact that you got Green in Round 4 implies otherwise.

GRADE: A

Now that's more like it. This guy snagged arguably the best wideout in fantasy football in Megatron with a late first round pick, came back around to scoop up a viable RB1 in DeMarco Murray, solidified his RB2 spot with Bernard who's in for a big workload, and then managed to draft the No. 2 wideout on one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Now if he can get a decent signal-caller and tight end, and build up some depth on his bench he's in great shape. Just be wary of the fact that Cobb and Johnson both have their byes in Week 9 so you would need to prepare for that by picking up a couple other receivers. But for a 12-team league, this is a very solid start.

GRADE: D-

So you're telling me that this is a 12-team league with a point per reception (PPR) scoring format and you didn't pick a wide receiver in any of the first four rounds? Yikes. Brees in Round 2 is just about the only decent part about this one. My other issue here is Gore in Round 4. Since you didn't take a wideout yet, that's where you should have secured one. Gore has some risk this early to begin with and only caught 16 passes in 16 games last season. Study some ADP charts and figure out what other running backs you can target in the middle rounds that are high-reception backs. Someone like Chris Johnson (42 catches in 2013) or Shane Vareen (47 catches in 2013, only played eight games) might be better bets for a PPR format even though they might not rack up as many rushing attempts. Hopefully this was just a mock draft and you're doing this for practice and feedback. Learn from this mistake and try a different strategy next time, it should pay off in the end.

GRADE: B-

I would definitely be a bit queasy when I face this team with Graham, Marshall and Cobb staring down whoever my guys are at their respective positions. Graham will give you a weekly matchup advantage at tight end, especially in a 12-team league. Marshall and Cobb are a lethal receiver duo, but again you'll need to be prepared for their bye week because you won't be able to start either of them in Week 9. I am concerned about the lack of a running back here because if you're looking for your RB1 in Round 5 of a 12-team draft, it's going to be slim pickings. Luck in Round 3 is also questionable but he’s primed to have a big year in Indianapolis with a lot of weapons to spread the ball around to. If you can stock up on running backs the next few rounds, you just might be able to get up and down for a par. Wait, that's golf. Slam dunk! Moving on...

GRADE: A

Alright, we're getting back on track here. The one thing that really shocks me is that Manning lasted until Round 4, but that's a good thing for this owner. If he's still on the board that late, I'm taking him. I'm also starting to get the feeling that people are absolutely in love with Bernard this year. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The guy finished his rookie season with over 1,200 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns and should only improve upon that in 2014. Just be aware that big rookie Jeremy Hill might vulture a few touchdowns on short yardage situations, although Bernard is still in line for his cut of the goal line work. Overall these first four picks are strong, just go out and get yourself a WR2 now and you should be in good shape.


Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @m_franciscovich and yes, he will answer your questions. One at a time folks, one at a time.

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